William Stuart and his partners launched Colorado Sake Co. last summer, making the Japanese fermented rice beverage in an 850-square-foot space at the back of Wine & Whey, a wine and cheese shop at 3559 Larimer Street. But the shop's owners, Pamela and Ron Zorn, are closing their six-year-old business in June, and Stuart says he'll be expanding sake production and adding a bigger tasting room at the address.
"We're going to take over the 3,000-square-foot space so we can triple production," Stuart explains. "Right now, we've maxed out production and can't take on more accounts."
The sake brewer explains that Colorado Sake Co. currents sells its products to 75 retail and restaurant accounts, so the brewery expansion will allow the company to grow by adding more sake styles and getting bottles into liquor stores and restaurants across the state.
The expansion will be incremental; Colorado Sake Co. will move its tiny tasting room to a bigger, more visible space at the front of the shop beginning June 1, while Wine & Whey will continue to operate in the central space until mid-June. Stuart, along with co-owners Heather Dennis and Russ and Jennifer Eubanks, will complete the expansion once the Zorns move out.
"We'll be able to increase production from 1,200 to 4,000 bottles per month, and will go from six to twelve sakes in the tasting room," the brewer adds.
Colorado Sake Co. currently makes traditional sake styles as well as several infused and barrel-aged varieties, such as horchata nigori, blueberry-hibiscus and sparkling ginger-lemon. The expansion will also allow the company to host special events, including an upcoming seminar with Master Sommelier and sake expert Sally Mohr.
Sake brewing is still a very small niche in the craft-beverage industry, with only about twenty brewers in the U.S. Colorado Sake Co. faced an uphill battle to open because of ambiguous laws that made it difficult to open as a producer with a tasting room, but Stuart worked with the Colorado Legislature last year to have laws rewritten so that he could launch his business. Less than a year later, the extra work has paid off, and he's ready for growth.
Contact Colorado Sake Co. at 720-449-6963 or visit the company's website for more details.